Business users need to be close to Big Data. They need to know the pros and cons of how to best utilize business data to act on opportunities and reach out to customers and prospects. In addition, businesses need to respond to these advantages immediately. As Thomas Schutz, SVP of Sales and Marketing Strategy for Experian North America states, companies have a “product in production, working within their data, in the pace of days, sometimes hours” all the while keeping data at high quality through validation and verification and, if possible, enhancing data through a rich archive, connecting identities.
But, asked Schutz, how does an organization provide this level of agility in a simple way, without spending lots of dollars and hours on consulting? Where does a manager get that quick time-to-value capability that merges different, disparate solutions in Data Management, especially without hyper-focusing on specifics like email validation or Europe’s GDPR?
Here Tom Schutz volunteered that Experian provides software self-service solutions tailored toward business initiatives. For example, Experian Aperture Data Studio provides the insight into data that is needed when launching any business initiative that involves improving customer data. Experian gets that businesses need easy, speedy access to their data and to additional information that enriches a company’s understanding of their data sets.
DATAVERSITY® recently interviewed Thomas Schutz about Experian’s value in the Data Management industry and its exciting developments and electrifying vision for the future.
DATAVERSITY (DV): What sets the work of Experian’s Data Quality products above the rest within the industry? What makes Experian unique?
Thomas Schutz: We have built tools that are scalable and reliable. We have worked to ensure that our enrichment capabilities, and even our core validation and verification are superior to those around us. We have unparalleled access to rich records of information, like the Experian Consumer View file, that we leverage to provide enrichment that no other business can touch.
Most companies approach Data Management in an overly complex way, through longer-term professional services. This means work completion takes weeks, or even months. In the current business landscape, you have to be able to not only reach your prospects—but also truly understand them—if you hope to keep up with the competition.
In addition, our capabilities are more scalable and user-friendly. With many competitors’ solutions, the CDO, marketing personnel, SVP of Operations or one of many other folks are required to possess the technical knowledge to troubleshoot and figure out a relatively complex solution. Since our solutions were built with business users in mind, we make it easy for these individuals to use the tool even if they don’t have the technical expertise to fix a software bug or anything along those lines.
Our quick time-to-value is truly one of the aspects that sets us apart. By providing software tools that are in-production, our tools are working within our customers’ data in days, sometimes just a few hours. These systems work on a consistent basis, so that businesses can utilize our applications and have an actual conversation with their data all the time, without worrying about the technical aspects of the solution.
We are singularly focused on empowering businesses to be as close to their data as humanly possible with quick time to value and strong usability across capabilities. We recently launched an API that can leverage financial data from Experian to prepopulate consumer credit application forms. This utilizes trusted data from Experian to help clients make decisions on credit in near real-time. None of our competitors are in a position to take advantage of that like we are.
DV: To work with this data, you already understand what Experian had to go through to deal with their own data files. That gives you a jump on a lot of people, just on the experience.
Thomas Schutz: I agree. This gives access to cutting-edge thinking about Data Strategy. At Experian, we have a very strong Data Strategy that we can help apply to other organizations. Most of our prospects and customers always speak of that. Establishing a strong a Data Strategy is new and challenging for a lot of folks out there. But lots of organizations are waking up to realize they need a robust Data Strategy and a deeper understanding of best practices.
DV: So, what is big at Experian around Data Management right now?
Thomas Schutz: We launched Experian Instant Form Fill (IFF) this year. It focuses on pre-populating applications, which is a specific market requirement. IFF fills in all the information in less than two minutes. It is a clean, simple, and a quick-time-to-value solution that we like.
Second, we unveiled Experian Aperture Data Studio a few months ago. It allows business users to gain a better understanding of their data and allows them to improve and manipulate that data very easily. This new tool also incorporates what Experian has always been known for in Data Management: contact Data Management, enrichment, deduplication, standardization, and so on. These all continue to be important in the market and are foundational to any Data Strategy. Data must be fit for a purpose. We take that very seriously. As the year continues, we are going to continue to enhance this product and we expect it will continue to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of our clients.
DV: Where do you see the industry right now?What do you think are the big changes that are happening or going forward into the future
Thomas Schutz: I think there’s a couple of forces at work in the current climate of the industry.
In the next few years, we will see the evolution of different capabilities: Data Quality, Data Preparation, Data Integration, etc. Today, while we have a lot of hyper-focused providers in these different areas, we are not seeing a suite or singular solution whereby a business user can consume all these capabilities to really stay informed about their customers in a self-service manner.
If businesses are going to continue to operate at pace, information must come together in a web-enabled suite of products. Today we have work-arounds, professional services organizations and consulting firms you can call in, but they’ll just use their own set of kits. The Data Management industry as a whole is barely keeping up with the user. Until different capabilities get stitched together, we will end up with disparate sorts of kits that fail to solve the underlying challenges.
Second, Machine Learning (ML) and Predictive Analytics will bring about large changes. We are only starting to see this. I will be curious to see how these factors relate to identity. I also think that while Machine Learning has become faster and more sophisticated with the proliferation of data, the end goal has not been well defined. I think most businesses need to take a step back and think about the actual outcomes from ML they want to achieve, rather than just being swept away by the marketing hype.
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